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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 February, 2004, 16:45 GMT
Banker denies concealing evidence
Joyti De-Laurey
Joyti De-Laurey denies the charges against her
A City banker has denied "concealing" evidence in a multi-million pound theft trial of her former secretary.

Jennifer Moses, who claims she was left 1m poorer by Joyti De-Laurey's "deception and thievery", said she did not hide 100 allegedly forged cheques.

The prosecution has told Southwark Crown Court the money was used in "astonishing" spending sprees.

Ms De-Laurey, 35, from North Cheam, Surrey, denies stealing nearly 4.5m from several bankers over two years.

Her husband Anthony, a 50-year-old former chauffeur, and her GP mother, Dr Devi Schahhou, 67, of King Henry's Road, Hampstead, north-west London, each pleaded not guilty to associated money laundering charges.

Seafront villa

Mrs Moses, a one-time Goldman Sachs managing director, said her decision not to tell police about a handful of cheques that were "potentially to my benefit" had been nothing more than a mistake.

The court has heard Ms De-Laurey allegedly stole about 1.2m belonging to Mrs Moses and her husband, Ron Beller, another former managing director of Goldman Sachs.

She then went on to steal a further 3.2m from their successor Edward Scott Mead.

Stuart Trimmer, prosecuting, has claimed the personal assistant used the money to pay for a 300,000 Cartier collection, designer clothes and a string of expensive cars.

He said she also splashed out 750,000 on a seafront villa in Cyprus, where she planned to start a new life.

'Accomplished con artist'

During her evidence on Tuesday, Mrs Moses repeatedly insisted that her once trusted secretary, who she now regarded as an "accomplished con artist", had never been given permission to forge either her or her husband's signatures on cheques.

She went on to tell the jury that when she examined some 1,100 cheques drawn on one of her accounts, between April 2000 and November 2001, she had only picked out those she felt the defendant had forged for her own benefit.

Mrs Moses put to one side a handful which, while forged, were "potentially" to pay off bills she and her husband had incurred.

The trial was adjourned until Wednesday.

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